Bloomberg News

Copper Trims Weekly Loss as U.S. Data May Lift Demand Prospects

January 09, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Copper climbed, trimming a weekly loss, as U.S. consumer confidence rose and jobless claims declined in the world’s biggest economy, improving the outlook for metals demand. Zinc and aluminum advanced.

Copper for delivery in three months gained as much as 1.2 percent to $7,627.25 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $7,582 at 2:41 p.m. in Seoul. The price has lost 0.2 percent this week. The March-delivery contract was little changed at $3.4305 a pound on the Comex in New York.

“Copper got a boost from improved data out of the U.S.,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior metals trader at Seoul-based Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. Payroll data later today are expected to be positive also, boosting price gains, he said.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed to minus 44.8 in the period ended Dec. 31, the best reading since mid-July, from minus 47.5 the prior week. Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 15,000 to 372,000 at the same time, according to Labor Department figures.

Payrolls rose by 150,000 last month after increasing by 120,000 in November, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, before the report from the government.

Copper, used in pipes and wires, declined 21 percent last year amid concerns that the global economy may falter as Europe’s debt crisis worsened, curbing demand for industrial metals. Nine of 17 traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect copper to fall next week.

The March-delivery contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.2 percent to 55,930 yuan ($8,865) a ton.

Global Slowdown

China, the world’s biggest user of metals, will roll out measures to boost consumption this year as it strives to meet challenges posed by a global slowdown, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said yesterday.

Industrial metals will rise this year, “with China once again one of the factors lending support,” Commerzbank AG wrote yesterday in an e-mailed report. Copper will average $8,550 a ton in 2012, the bank said in the report.

Aluminum on the LME gained 0.6 percent to $2,048.25 a ton and zinc rose 0.7 percent to $1,846 a ton. Lead decreased 0.2 percent to $2,002 per ton, while nickel dropped 0.3 percent to $18,626 a ton. Tin was untraded.

Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, said on Jan. 5 it will close 12 percent of its global smelting capacity after the price of the lightweight metal slumped amid a global surplus.

--With assistance from Shobhana Chandra in Washington, Victoria Ruan in Beijing and Sonja Elmquist in New York. Editors: Jake Lloyd-Smith, Thomas Kutty Abraham

To contact the reporter on this story: Sungwoo Park in Seoul at spark47@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net


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